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Klopp has a crew that Can win

China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-03 07:04

 Klopp has a crew that Can win

Liverpool's Emre Can executes a mid-air scissors kick to score the winning goal against Watford in their England Premier League match at Vicarage Road on Monday. Toby Melville / Reuters

Liverpool remains on track to secure top-four finish

WATFORD, England - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told his players to brace themselves for the Premier League stretch run after they retained control of their top-four destiny with victory at Watford on Monday.

Emre Can's stupendous mid-air scissors kick earned Liverpool a 1-0 win at Vicarage Road that gave it a three-point cushion over Manchester City in third place.

Victory in Liverpool's last three games - against Southampton, West Ham United and Middlesbrough - will guarantee it a Champions League berth, but Klopp said there was still much work to be done.

"We need to stay focused, we need to stay concentrated," said the German.

"We have pressure until the end of the season, but that's a positive pressure. It means we are fighting for something.

"So we'll do everything for the points we can get, but it won't be easy.

"If people think we already have the three points against Southampton then they've not seen them play this season. They are another really strong side.

"Nobody can take these points away from us tonight and now we have time to work and prepare for Southampton on Sunday."

Can settled proceedings in first-half stoppage time, meeting Lucas Leiva's floated pass with a textbook volley that flew past Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.

Can has battled a persistent calf problem for the past 12 months and Klopp praised the Germany midfielder for gritting his teeth and fighting through it.

"If he couldn't be positive after this goal, something would be wrong," Klopp said with a smile.

"He's a good player. He's had a calf problem, but we couldn't leave him out. We had a lot of talks about this.

"People wondered what was wrong with him, but we needed him in these moments. He said, 'I'm going to try.'

"Sometimes he wasn't as good as he could have been, but now those problems are sorted, he's physically strong and he can build on these performances.

"And if he can score goals like this, it makes even more sense."

Coutinho hobbled

Liverpool lost playmaker Philippe Coutinho to a dead leg early in the game, which saw Adam Lallana make his return from a month-long lay-off as a 13th-minute replacement for the Brazilian.

Klopp offered no prognosis on Coutinho's condition, only to say that the injury - sustained in a collision with Watford's Adrian Mariappa - had been "really painful".

Liverpool also hit the bar through a dipping Lallana volley and Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes had to make several second-half saves to keep the score close.

The host came agonizingly close to snatching a stoppage-time equalizer when centerback Sebastian Prodl blasted a shot off the crossbar.

"I told the players after the game that if they want to kill me, that's a good way to try it. I thought I felt something in this area," Klopp said, gesturing to his heart.

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri, whose side remains 13th in the standings, said the final score was not an accurate reflection of the game.

"If you look at all of Liverpool's games, they usually create five or six clear chances," said the Italian.

"Today we hardly conceded any chances and we also had a couple of our own, so overall it was a good performance.

"I usually don't like to speak about luck, but today we were completely unlucky.

"Apart from Prodl's shot against the crossbar, there were two incorrect offsides against (Stefano) Okaka and (Troy) Deeney. We played a really good game."

Agence France-Presse

'Best I've ever scored' - Emre

Emre Can said his sensational bicycle kick that secured Liverpool a crucial 1-0 win over Watford on Monday was the best goal of his pro career.

The 23-year-old German international - who took his tally to five for the season - produced his moment of magic in first-half stoppage time.

The victory kept Liverpool in third place in the standings, but in terms of Champions League qualification it pushed it four points clear of fifth-place Manchester United.

The top four qualify for Europe's premier club competition.

"I have never scored a goal like that - maybe when I was younger. That is the best goal I've ever scored," Can told Sky Sports.

"I saw the space and I ran behind and my first thought was that I wanted to head it. Then I didn't think too much what to do.

"But the most important thing was three points after knowing what happened yesterday. It was a big game for us.

"Everything is in our hands. If we win the three games we are in the Champions League. We are confident. If we perform how we can perform, we can do it."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was in awe of what he termed the "spectacular" goal.

"Emre has played really well in the past few weeks but he could still play better. However I don't think he can ever score a better goal than that," Klopp told Sky Sports.

Agence France-Presse


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